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Main Provisions

The main provision of the amendment includes the handling of disputes involving nonunionised
workers, which can now be referred to the Industrial Disputes Tribunal. Therefore the
amendments will allow nonunionised workers access to the IDT even in the absence of an
impending industrial dispute. So in facilitating inclusion of nonunionised workers in the LRIDA,
the definition of industrial dispute has been amended to include workers who are not members of
trade unions. Secondly, the definition of undertaking was widen to include trades and businesses
which employ only one worker as before the amendments, as it was previously defined as trade,
business or any activity involving the employment of workers. The second schedule was also
amended to increase the number of Deputy Chairman of the IDT; this will facilitate the
establishment of more panels to hear disputes enabling the speedy settlement of matters.
These amendments were necessary as it level the playing field by granting nonunionized
workers access to the IDT. Therefore, the amendment will ensure that proper provisions are
made for all workers in Jamaica.
Before the amendment the ministers intervention could have only been sought in a situation
where an industrial dispute existed. He had no authority to act in the interest of a dismissed
employee where his dismissal did not result in a dispute which threatened industrial peace. So it
was unlikely that a dispute between a nonunionised worker and his or her employee would
threaten industrial peace to the extent where the ministers intervention would have to be sought.
Hence there was no recourse in law for the nonunionised worker to access the IDT to settle
disputes. (Dunkley, 2009)
The effect of the amendment as it relates to:
Expeditious settlements of dispute: Disputes referred to the IDT will be heard and rulings
handed down speedily. Before the amendment parties in dispute treated the timeframe set by the
IDT with scant regard, now they will be strictly enforced. So this will allows claims to be out of
the system in quick time and will the lower the amount of holdups in the system
Industrial Disputes: Industrial disputes will now have a great impact on the workplace as before
the amendments only employees who were a part of a union were allowed to take industrial
action without suffering adverse consequences. Now that these nonunionized workers are
protected by the LRIDA, if employees take industrial action, the workflow will be affected so
employers have to settle disputes in a timely manner.
Increase in the number of Deputy Chairmen of the IDT: This will positively impact the
speedy settlement of matters as more panels will be established to deal with them. This will also
allow for cases to be fairly scrutinized as more chairmen will be able to efficiently deal with the
matters before the IDT can hence they will be able to adequately analyze each case and hand
down fair judgement.